A gang of crooks – seven of them arrested for extortionate calls to politicians in Haryana, Punjab and Delhi – used the murder of singer Sidhu Moose Wala as fear factor after their leaders in Pakistan had the idea. Are they really related to the murder? The police have not found any so far.
Haryana Police said today that these men had previously defrauded people with calls saying they had won a lottery or competitions like ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’. After Moose Wala’s murder on May 29, gang leaders in Pakistan “activated” their men in India to use for extortion.
“Already in the last eight months they sent 2.77 crore rupees to Pakistan using 727 bank accounts in Bihar,” said Sandeep Dhankhar, an officer from the Special Task Force (STF) of the police. ‘Haryana, in Sonipat today.
They were paying people to use their accounts to receive crime money.
After keeping 10-15%, they would funnel the rest back to Pakistan using ‘hawala’, which means they would give the money to someone here, who would then arrange for a similar amount to be paid to gang members in Pakistan.
The police said the extortionists were not linked to any terrorist organization but were simply using these means to smuggle money out of India.
After Sidhu Moose Wala was gunned down in Mansa district of Punjab, Canadian mobster Goldy Brar said he was successful. Police say jailed gang leader Lawrence Bishnoi ordered the ‘revenge’ hit because he believed Moose Wala was linked to the murder of one of their men.
It was then that members of the fraud gang in Pakistan and West Asia spotted an opportunity. They gave the numbers of some MPs from Haryana to their agents in Bihar. Four MPs received threats in the last two weeks of June, as did some politicians in Punjab and Delhi.
The callers spoke in Punjabi, in addition to Mumbai slang, saying “you will meet the fate of Moose Wala” – which fueled the theory that the Bishnoi-Brar gang may be behind it all.
Following complaints from MPs, the Haryana Police formed the task force.
This team also received a threat after arresting a man for allegedly supplying Goldy Brar’s gang with weapons.
In coordination with local cops, the STF eventually arrested two of the men – Dulesh Alam from Bihar and Badre Alam from UP – from Mumbai. The other four – Amit Yadav, Saddiq Anwar, Sanoj Kumar and Kaish Alam from Bihar – were arrested in Muzaffarpur, state in July. And another Bihar man, Abulesh Alam, was arrested this month. Police found 92 ATM cards, 56 SIM cards, 24 mobile phones, in addition to around Rs 4 lakh, on them.
These gangs keep tabs on criminal activity in India which they can use as smokescreens for extortion, police say.
“Kaish Alam stayed in Dubai for three years. That’s when he made contact with the gang leaders. He recently returned to India,” the STF officer said.
To track down the gang, some STF members became decoy targets by “managing to come on the gang’s radar”. After receiving extortion calls, they wrote down their details, such as bank accounts, after which came the arrests, the STF chief told reporters. The STF learned about 10 Pakistani residents through whom the threats and extortion calls were routed, he said.